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Waking Frank

by jocat29 

Posted: 01 April 2004
Word Count: 2405
Summary: Don't you just love a good funeral? Especially if it's your own.

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Awake at last

Frank and Marcus giggled together at their little plan. What fun it would be if Frank faked his own death! Marcus chuckled at the idea that his good friend would soon be even more loaded with insurance money and Frank revelled at the thought of all the mourners! What a good joke thought Frank and how happy they would all be when he re-emerged unharmed! Yes it was a fine plan. Money and adulation.

Frank had always been something of an attention seeker. As a child he had behavioural problems. Always had to be top of the class in everything and when he wasn’t he kicked up a proper little storm. His mother, bless her, tried desperately hard but he was such a beautiful little boy. And after all, all little boys are mischievous and it’s a mothers right to spoil her boys isn't it?

Frank was the leader of his gang and they all did just what he told them to do. Absolutely nothing was further from his grasp and he would take all measures to get what he wanted. He wanted everything and oh yes, Frank could have everything he wanted.

"He has a bright future ahead of him my Frank" she would gush at mothers coffee mornings, beaming with pride. "A bright future, yes"

As a teenager, all the girls flocked to Frank. Why wouldn’t they? He was such a handsome young man. He was a wonderful student and he particularly shone at maths. He was also voted the captain of the football team by all of his friends. How could they not vote for Frank? Admittedly he wasn’t the teacher’s choice, but Frank’s friends knew that he would champion them through to trophies galore. Of course he would - he assured them all the time!

He championed his way through to Oxford, after all he was very clever and charming and with such an exhaustive list of extra curricular activities how could they refuse? Making friends at university wasn’t a problem for Frank. He had so much fun, for just as it was at school, they all followed his lead. He was becoming a remarkable young man was Frank, excelling in his studies and taking out the many beautiful ladies. Actually Frank preferred the less beautiful ones, because they were more grateful of his advances. The beautiful ones accompanied him to dinners and balls but he didn’t take them back to his bedroom. Oh don’t get me wrong, he would have liked to, but no, he would walk the pretty girl home and then wander off to a club, to find a bit of sparkle. I mean, at the end of the day the plainer girls were far more fun after midnight even if he did have to close his eyes!

"They are very lucky girls" thought Frank, stroking himself with pride at the good deeds he had performed over the last few years. "Very lucky indeed" he pointed out to his large circle of friends.

Frank met Marcus on his final day at university. How outrageous, thought Frank, that he should meet his best friend on the last day! Marcus wasn’t like his other friends. Marcus had a mischievous glint in his eyes and he didn’t agree with Frank all the time. Frank loved people to agree, because he was always right of course, but sometimes it was a little tiresome. He often reprimanded his good friends for not challenging him, and of course they were very apologetic, the silly people.

He and Marcus moved to London and both entered into to glorious world of investment banking. Oh what fun they had. Their nights were fuelled with champagne, cocaine and beautiful girls. The girls weren’t very clever like they were at Oxford, thought Frank but how lucky they are to bag such a great catch for the night!

One fine evening, Frank and Marcus met a girl named Lucy. Lucy was pretty, clever, witty and a little bit cheeky as well. Marcus thought she was just lovely but Frank didn’t like her at all! High maintenance he thought.

But soon enough, Frank and Lucy were chatting like old friends. Despite her flirty behaviour, childish humour and fancy career, she would actually be perfect! How clever he would seem to his friends if he married a pretty girl who was intelligent to boot! Frank spent several hours pondering this and eventually came to the conclusion that marrying a pretty, clever girl would be just what he needed! How envious they would all be. He didn’t really find her that attractive and she wasn’t quite as grateful and willing as the others but everyone else thought she was just adorable and that’s what counts isn't it? Anyway, he could always see other girls on the side...She wouldn’t know. He decided not to tell this to Marcus as well, just in case. Not until he'd married her anyway.

Two years later, Frank and Lucy were married and what a joyous occasion it was. Frank was congratulated by all in finding such a suitable bride. He looked in the mirror, swept back his hair and felt very pleased with himself. His mother was very proud and had invited all of her friends to the wedding. What a wonderful spectacle seeing her son so smartly dressed. She didn’t really approve of Lucy. She would've preferred him to marry someone a little more…..Well, she didn’t know, but something was missing.

And, soon enough, Frank and Marcus were up to their old tricks. Revelling nights out, alcohol, cocaine, pretty girls, fast cars. What a wonderful life!

Frank couldn’t wait to fake his own death. He and Marcus filled in the Insurance papers together...adding an extra nought in the salary field was Frank’s idea...of course it had to be financially worth his while. He and Lucy would have to leave the country and his family, but that didn’t matter, they would come and visit him.

The plan evolved, the papers were posted and a shocking incident was plotted. It was easy! Frank would get into a scuffle at the side of the Thames. Not his fault of course, it would be an unprovoked attack by the riff raff that London seems to be riddled with these days and Frank would never be seen again!

Marcus ran into the streets yelling for help, gathering rubber neckers, do gooders and police. When they returned to the riverbank, Frank was gone except for traces of his blood (he struggled with the pin prick because pain isn’t very nice is it?) and his wallet.

For days the Thames were trawled, posters were placed on lampposts, and enquiries were made. Eventually, the metropolitan police decided that poor Frank must have died.

Frank was very excited about the funeral! He would hide out in Marcus’s house until the day and then sneak home whilst all the mourners were at the church. Marcus brought all the newspaper clippings about his disappearance, which Frank found hilarious! He and Marcus had it all neatly planned. . Firstly there would be an elaborate parade organised by his colleagues with he name spelled out in rich flowers. Then there would be a dramatic religious service where his friends could read sorrowful poems and then they would all return to his house to pay their respects. What a fine joke!

Frank had a very big house in London. It was grandly furnished with fine paintings on the walls. He was very proud of his possessions and couldn’t wait to hear people commenting on how lovely his house was. Not many of his friends had seen his house. He preferred to go out with his many friends than spend nights at home, but here was his chance to show them all how successful and rich he was

The house had a large cellar beneath the kitchen and dining room. There were no windows (only a little one with bars) and Lucy never went down there because it was too spooky and full of spiders! She was a little bit pathetic like that. It was the perfect hiding place for the funeral. Nobody would have any idea that he was there and he could spend the whole day delighting as his friends came in droves with tales of their sorrow and to beg tearfully for his return.

The morning passed and Frank watched the clock eagerly awaiting 2pm when he could dash over to his cellar in disguise. Nobody would see him, he thought as they would all be at the church.

He helped himself to a fine malt to congratulate himself upon his success and skipped gleefully down the cellar steps. What a marvellous idea this all was.

The minutes passed and sure enough the mourners came. His mother was wailing so terribly loud he could barely hear anything! He could hear Marcus, comforting poor Lucy. Her sister Hannah was chatting about work on her mobile telephone. How rude he thought. "The others will be coming soon though" said Frank to himself. How respectful of them to think of allowing the family a moment alone! Maybe they weren't such a bad lot after all.

"What will you do now Lucy” asked Franks mother gravely
"Oh I should think A little holiday in the sun will see me right...I’m going to take a month abroad to clear my head”

Frank chuckled to himself. He did feet a slight pang of guilt that he had put poor Lucy through this tremendous ordeal. She must have missed him terribly over the last few weeks. How on earth had she coped without him? A month in the sun sounded very nice. What a lovely surprise it would be for Lucy that she wouldn’t be going alone!

And then there was a knock at the door. This is it! Thought Frank, skipping around the cellar clapping his hands as quietly as he could.

“Lucy how lovely to see you” It was Richard, Franks colleague.

Frank didn’t like his Richard very much. He was one of those irritating cheery types. In fact Frank had made up some amusing jokes last year about Richards drink problem. Actually Richard didn’t have a drink problem but it was ever so funny watching the stories travel around the office! Richard wasn’t very happy and very nearly got the sack but luckily Frank didn’t get the blame.

“How are you Lucy my dear” boomed Gordon, Frank’s boss. Frank edged himself up the cellar steps to get a better listen.

How they must be suffering at work without me thought Frank.

Franks mother started wailing her head off again. “Oh shut up, you silly old goat” growled Frank impatiently. How could he possibly listen with her caterwauling in the background.

Another knock at the door.

“Lucy, Darling! Mwah Mwah”. It was Helen, one of Lucy’s stupid giggly friends.
“Thanks so much for coming Hels” sobbed Lucy. “Have you brought all your things?”
“Yes and the taxi is booked, so come along get yourself together”

“What on earth is she doing the silly woman? She cant possibly be going today and with that horrible Helen” thought Frank.

Richards mobile phone rang. “Hold on let me take this outside” Goodness me thought Frank, can they not switch the damn things off for one day

“Gordon! Marvellous to see you. How is your lovely wife?” It was Marcus. Thank heavens for that thought Frank. Marcus had been in the other room consoling Franks mother no doubt.

“Things are better now thank you, but no thanks to Frank if I may say so. She was very upset about Franks behaviour and refused to come today. I wouldn’t have come myself were it not for poor Lucy”

Well I never! Thought Frank. “How dare he, the fat old toad”. His thoughts turned to the rumours he had spread about an imaginary affair Graham’s wife had had. Graham and his wife were very upset, but Graham deserved it. He was always picking on him for his timekeeping and alleged bad attitude. And after all, his wife would be better off without the old troll. He was doing her a favour! How ungrateful.

“Yes it was an unpleasant business all round but what goes around comes around so they say” Marcus replied.

Frank giggled to himself at this. Marcus obviously thought that Gordon deserved this as well, but he never expected Marcus to tell him quite so directly!

“Can I get you another drink Gordon”
“No thank you Marcus, Richard and I are going to head off back to the office”

And good riddance thought Frank. What dreadful people they were going back to work on a day like this.

Frank listened carefully as Lucy and Helen hurried out of the door banging around with their suitcases. He simply couldn’t believe it. Why on earth hadn’t Marcus told her to hang on for a little while. And of course she would need to see to all the other guests when they arrived. This was a very poor performance from Marcus indeed. Frank would be sure give him a good scolding for this. Just wait until the others left!

“Have a lovely time Lucy and call me when you get back and I’ll treat you to dinner”
“Bye Marcus thanks so much for your help lately you’ve been wonderful”. Help yourself to any of Franks old stuff wont you?”
“Ugh god, you can finally get rid of those dreadful paintings!” Shrieked Hannah, the horrible woman.
And off they all went.

Well Frank could hardly believe his ears. He washed down his dry throat with another glass of whisky and started up the cellar stairs. All of a sudden the door slammed! And it was bolted shut. This was most inconvenient as he couldn’t hear a damn thing through that door!

It must be a sign from Marcus grinned Frank. Maybe all my friends are arriving…it’s about time too. He sat back down and waited for Marcus to open the door. He was most pleased that his friends had arrived because he was beginning to feel like everybody was leaving! He was just going to have to be a little more patient while Marcus got rid of them so he could come out.

And he waited….and waited…and waited….but nobody ever came to get him out! He screamed and banged on the door but nobody could hear him

Poor Frank

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Comments by other Members

scottwil at 16:06 on 02 April 2004  Report this post
The gag is an old one -see Edgar Alan Poe and a whole bunch of death-fixated Victorians.
Forget the story but your writing is good and precise. You write well. So keep doing it.

scottwil at 06:36 on 03 April 2004  Report this post
That comment strikes me as less helpful than intended. I don't mean throw the story away but do check out: 'The premature Burial' by Edgar Allen Poe.

Anna Reynolds at 11:24 on 06 April 2004  Report this post
Jocat29, just had a second read of this- it's a very unusual style, almost like a children's tale. Deceptively simple. I had a few thoughts0 it feels quite signalled that Frank is going to have the tables turned on him- is this your intention, or do you want us to believe that he is still in control until the end? I rather like the fact that we know and see the parade of people who all have a grudge against him, rolling out their stories one by one. In terms of Frank's charm, at what point do you feel this changes? because obviously, his behaviour has made him countless enemies, including his own wife, best friend, boss, etc...is his mother the only one who genuinely mourns him, for whom he's stayed the blue-eyed boy? I think it might be worth just being careful about where the turn comes. Or has it all been in his mind, that everyone's adored him, all along? Also, I wondered why Lucy married him- there's an implication that she's too bright for him and might be able to see through him- she should really have ended up with Marcus, perhaps? Whose idea was the faking death thing- was it actually Marcus who masterminded the whole thing? Hmm, lots of possibilities. The style- faux naive- might not be to everyone's tastes, but I found once I'd adjusted to it, it amused me more and more and suited the story. With regard to the comment above, there's no such thing as an original story, so personally, I think all we can do is continue to find new ways of telling stories in our original writing voices.

Grinder at 13:26 on 06 April 2004  Report this post

This was enjoyable, rather reminiscent of one of those old ‘Tales of the Unexpected’ episodes.

However, I did not find the end surprising. I think this is because you set Frank up to be someone that’s easy to dislike, I found myself wanting the tables turned. One thing you might want to try, if you think this needs fixing, is to engender a bit of sympathy for him. Perhaps show Marcus and his wife, flirting behind his back, planning to run away with the money? You might lead the reader to believe that they will just leave, so that Frank’s final fate wouldn’t be obvious.

I had fun reading this, keep posting…


jocat29 at 18:12 on 06 April 2004  Report this post
Thank you all for your very helpful comments. It was my first attempt at writing a story since I left school fifteen years ago so I'm really pleased that you took the time to read it!

I especially liked the Tales of the Unexpected' comment, but appreciate that the ending was totally predictable!

I'm going to rewrite it, and have a go at structuring it a little more - I dont think I gave a lot of thought about when things were changing etc. I'm also going to alter the ending a little to try and make it a little less obvious.

Thanks again.


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